Royal Fans Question If It’s Safe for Prince William and Kate Middleton to Visit Pakistan
A couple of weeks ago we learned that fall will be extra busy for everyone’s favorite royal couples.
Just after the Palace confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would be heading to South Africa with little Archie in tow, we learned that wasn’t the only foreign tour on the docket. In a surprise move, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be heading to South Asia.
More specifically, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will embark on a royal tour of Pakistan. This is a milestone visit for the royal family. While they’ve been touring nonstop for years, no royal contingent has visited the country of Pakistan for 13 long years.
It’s an interesting choice of destination for sure. But now royal fans are worried it might be dangerous, too. So why are Prince William and Kate Middleton heading to the unstable country despite the risks?
Royals stopped visiting Pakistan due to safety concerns
The big question on everyone’s mind is this: why exactly did the royal family stop traveling to Pakistan? Well, safety is the main thing.
Currently, even British citizens are advised against travel to Pakistan. Britain’s Foreign Office (FCO) issued a warning on their website recommending against travel to certain areas in Pakistan, noting risks including, “terrorism, kidnapping and sectarian violence throughout the country, including the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi.”
“Foreigners, in particular Westerners, may be directly targeted,” the advisory warns. The site recommends avoiding large events or gatherings, especially religious events. There were two terror attacks in May 2019 alone. “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan,” the FCO says.
Conditions have improved in Pakistan
Though things were tense for a while, the past few years have shown improvements and travel is safer now than it was a decade ago. Even with those frightening FCO warnings still in effect.
Former high commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hassan explained, “If there was no royal visit since 1997, it was entirely due to security concerns. After the military operation in 2014 [where armed forces took on militants], now things have improved.”
“British Airways has resumed its flights [from London to Islamabad], and security concerns over diplomatic postings have been upgraded. Pakistan is now considered as a safe station,” he continued.
Even with improved conditions, Prince William and Kate Middelton will be leaving their three young children at home during the historic visit. They haven’t said if it’s because of safety concerns, but we can assume that was a consideration.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s security detail will be significant
There’s also the obvious detail that most travelers don’t have a full-time security team following them around. If anyone was going to feel safe traveling to Pakistan, it’s Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Besides their own teams, the country officials they’ll be visiting will also beef up security for the duration of their visit. With the potential for improving relations between the two countries, this visit will need to go perfectly. Especially with the whole world watching.